By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — Gardendale easily won the battle Friday night, but lost the war.
The Rockets had little trouble with visiting Carver in their 35-12 win Friday, but their playoff aspirations came to a screeching halt when Mountain Brook pulled off a 10-7 upset over third-ranked Vestavia Hills. That upset left Gardendale on the wrong side of a tiebreaker with Hewitt-Trussville, which beat Huffman on Thursday night to grab a playoff berth and leave the Rockets outside looking in.
Rocket quarterback Hunter Crook sent scoring tosses to Peyton Erwin for 14 yards in the third quarter and to Austin Hicks for 30 yards in the fourth. Hicks also ran in a score from 11 yards out late in the game.
Sophomore running back De’Qua Houston, who’s been grabbing more of the spotlight with each passing week, opened the scoring on a 1-yard run just seven seconds into the second quarter. He finished the night with 133 yards on 23 carries, exactly two-thirds of the Rockets’ ground attack total.
Juan Jackson ran a Rams punt back 45 yards for a score with 9:42 left in the first half.
Carver quarterback Decorian Bivens had two touchdown passes for the night.
Crook was 5-for-11 in passing for 77 yards.
The Rockets (5-4, 4-3 region) finish off the season at Buckhorn next week.